Bridgeport, Conn. - On Friday night, the No. 2
seed LIU Post volleyball team advanced to its first NCAA Division
II East Region title match in seven years, as the Pioneers defeated
third-seeded NYIT, 3-0, in a semifinal clash at Harvey Hubbell
Gymnasium in Bridgeport, Conn.
LIU Post (24-9) now takes on No. 4 seed New Haven on Saturday at 7 p.m. The victor will represent the East Region at the NCAA Division II National Championship, which begins next Thursday (Dec. 12) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Earlier this season, the Pioneers defeated the Chargers at the UNH Tournament, 3-1.
The first set saw eight tied scores, and neither squad lead by more than three points, until the conclusion. Tied 19-19, LIU Post went on a 6-1 run to take the opening game by a result of 25-20. Junior middle blocker Heather Adams (Centerville, Ohio) and freshman outside hitter Shelby McCool (Eugene, Ore.) bookended the streak with kills.
Meanwhile, senior middle hitter Susy Cricchi (Borgovelino, Rieti, Italy) and junior setter Lulu Centro (Rome, Italy) sandwiched it with back-to-back blocks. McCool put up a Pioneers'-best 12 kills in the win. Adams and senior middle blocker Makamae Namahoe (Hilo, Hawaii) got eight kills each. Centro had a double-double (34 assists, 10 digs).
The second set featured another see-saw duel. Knotted at 19-all, the green and gold recorded four unanswered points to go in front, and eventually claimed a 25-18 win. Three LIU Post players notched kills in the spurt, including one from senior outside hitter Geony Fisher (Goodyear, Ariz.). McCool and Centro accounted for the others.
Deadlocked at 4-4 in the third set, the Pioneers posted a 6-1 burst to grab a 10-5 edge. Namahoe and senior middle hitter Melissa Hansen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) tallied a kill apiece. Centro served two consecutive aces. LIU Post would open up as much as a six-point cushion (16-10), before NYIT (27-7) began to chip away, and later tie it.
The Bears, on the precipice of losing in three sets, battled back from a 24-20 deficit to even the game, and extend the wait. But, with the score tied at 25-up, a McCool kill, and a Katarina Sretenovic (Belgrade, Serbia) attack error, which just missed nicking the end line, clinched the green and gold's berth to the title contest.
McCool and Namahoe collected nine, and eight digs, respectively, to go along with their 12- and eight-kill totals. Adams totaled five blocks, in addition to her eight-kill showing. Hansen registered six kills and five blocks. Cricchi chipped in five kills, four blocks and two digs.
The Pioneers last played in the NCAA Division II East Region Championship match on Nov. 11, 2006. They fell to Dowling that day by a 3-1 final.
Provided by the LIU Post Sports Information Department.